Instant Juice: Syracuse 12, St. John’s 4

Villanova, Pa. – A quick recap of Syracuse’s domination of St. John’s 12-4 to win the inaugural Big East Lacrosse Championship at Villanova Stadium, and with it the league’s automatic bid to the 16-team NCAA Tournament.

WHAT HAPPENED: The Orange was in control from the opening face-off as it looked like St. John’s didn’t get its wake-up call for the noon start, and the Red Storm failed to regain the emotion they displayed in upsetting top-seed Notre Dame on Thursday.

But that had a lot to do with the great play of the Orange.  Picking up where it left off Thursday in beating Villanova 15-6, SU raced to a 7-0 halftime lead and never looked back with stifling defense, settling for a comfortable pace on offense in the second half as it cushioned its advantage.

» Q&A with Syracuse lacrosse legend Brad Kotz
» Syracuse jelling at the right time

WHAT IT MEANS: Despite a disappointing .500 regular season and third-seed in the conference tournament, the stellar play of the Orange in wins over host Villanova in Thursday’s semi-final and against the Red Storm in the title game, earns SU the Big East’s spot in the NCAA Tournament.

The win also extends an impressive NCAA Tournament ledger for Syracuse lacrosse.   The Cuse has played in every tournament since 1983’s first national championship, the only exception being the 5-8 season of 2007.

STAR GAZING: Freshman goalie Bobby Wardwell was steady throughout, posting a first-half shutout before being removed with six minutes to play finishing with seven saves. Wardwell was surrounded by a strong close defense keyed by freshman big stick Brandon Mullins.  On offense, senior attack Tommy Palasek was an assist machine with  four, and he also found the net himself three times to finish with a game-high seven points.

WHAT’S NEXT: The NCAA first-round, with games played on the home fields of the top eight seeds.  The Orange at 9-7 aren’t likely to be seeded when the bracket is revealed Sunday night, so they would open up play on the road next Saturday or Sunday.  The selection show will be televised live on ESPNU at 9:00 ET.

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Brad Bierman

About Brad Bierman

Now in his fifth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.
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Syracuse faces St. John's with NCAA tournament bid at stake
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